Stretching from the Caspian Sea into the central Asian desert, Turkmenistan has had less upheaval than most ex-Soviet states, but President Niyazov was a dictator.


Low Garagum Desert covers 80% of the country. 

Mountains on southern border with Iran. 

Fertile Amu Darya Valley in north.


Arid desert climate with extreme summer heat, but sub-freezing winter temperatures.

People & Society:

Before Russia annexed the area in 1884, the Turkmen were a largely nomadic tribal people. 

Today, the tribal unit remains strong, with population clustered around desert oases. 

Relations with Uzbek and Russian minorities have become tense in recent years due to the “Turkmenization” of government, education, and religion


State-controlled, though there is some private investment. 

Natural gas and oil are main resources. 

Overintensive farming of cotton. 

Black market. 

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